England forward Courtney Lawes has spent the last few days in UK undergoing specialist treatment on a back injury.
He was the latest England absentee, with their pack particularly ravaged by injury and suspension ahead of the November internationals. Now head coach Eddie Jones has given an update on Lawes’ expected return.
The Northampton Saints man is set to rejoin the England squad at their training camp in Portugal on Monday evening.
It’s hoped that he will take part in light training on Tuesday as he continues his rehabilitation, however he remains a doubt for Saturday’s game with the Springboks at Twickenham.
England are due to name their team to face the Springboks on Thursday.
“He came in injured from the (Northampton) game,” England head coach Eddie Jones said.
“We did a walk through on Wednesday and he realised it wasn’t right so our medical team got onto it straight away. It was investigated here but it required treatment so he went home.
“At the moment is seems like it’s had the required effect and we will wait and see how he comes in tonight.
“It’s a lower back injury, he’s had it for a while and missed a number of games for Northampton. He came back and played but it hasn’t really rectified itself. We’re hopeful he’ll be in contention for selection.”
England are stretched thin at lock with injuries to Joe Launchbury and Nick Isiekwe, whilst Maro Itoje’s impressive performances on the flank and the injuries to back rowers Chris Robshaw, Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes could have seen him deployed at six, bringing some much-needed experience to what will likely be a new-look loose forward trio.
If Lawes can prove his fitness he will be in contention to pack down with Itoje or George Kruis in the second row, with the trio hot favourites to all feature in England’s 23 against the Springboks, if not the XV.
“He is a 65-cap player, Lions international, ball carrier and great defender. He would be a big loss (if he missed out) so we just have to pick up the slack and that’s the great opportunity of these Test matches. When you have players missing others can come through and you can build up the depth of your squad and your resilience going through to the World Cup.”
“He’s come in in really good nick, physically and mentally. He’s enjoying being back in the squad, he brings something different and he’s pushing hard for a spot in the 23,” added Jones.
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